Pierce Turns Up the Heat at Gulf Coast Tour ‘21 Comeback Event

Kim “Texas Heat” Pierce of Pflugerville, Texas, dominated a 52-player field, double-dipping Ming “The Empress” Ng in the finals, 7-4, 5-3, to capture the 2021 Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour “Comeback” 9-Ball Event. Pierce was defeated by Ng in the hot seat, 7-3, but powered her way back to an overtime finals victory.

Photo by Mandee Salines

On March 27th-28th, 2021, sponsors Poison by Predator Cues, Predator Cues, APA of North Harris County, Alamo Billiards, Outsville Billiards, Team StraightPool Eye, Lisa Gutierrez, Southern Streaming, and flagship venue, Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, Texas, produced a “comeback” event for the record books. This marked the first tournament held in a little over one year, since the Gulf Coast Tour shut down amidst the Covid crisis in March 2020. This event drew 52 women players from all across Texas and Louisiana, with $1,000 added, paying out $2,040 in prize money. As always, Big Tyme provided premium amenities, including twenty-three Diamond Bar Tables in a smoke-free environment, and an attentive wait staff, throughout the weekend. Predator sponsored brand new Predator Arcos II Pool Balls for every table, while Outsville Billiards provided the Accu-Racks. All of these amenities made for a very enjoyable, tournament-going experience, and everyone was ecstatic to be back.

Rocha, Watson, Cato, Abernathy, M. Rodriguez, Pierce, Ng, Garland

On her way to the winners’ side, final four, Kim Pierce defeated Yvonne “The Casher” Asher, Susi Morales, 7-4, Robyn Petrosino, 7-5, and San Antonio’s Jackie Rodriguez, 7-2. Newcomer Gail Cato of Texarkana bested Sandra Melo, Debra Leger, 7-2, Tiffany Johnson, 7-3, and Austin’s Michelle Abernathy, 7-3. Kawania Watson made her trek with wins over Brittany Kromer, 7-5, Jennifer Ramos, 7-3, Natalie Rocha, 7-6, and the “Princess of Pool”, Teresa Garland, 7-2. Rounding out the final four, Ming Ng curbed Sherren Drake, Sophia Lopez, 7-1, Elaine Kebodeaux, 7-3, and Danni Ladd, 7-1. On the west side, and in the final sixteen, Tiffany Benoit dusted off Kebodeaux, 5-3, but fell to Abernathy, 5-0. Rocha eliminated first-timer, Mary McHaney, 5-0, and J. Rodriguez, 5-0, while Maria Rodriguez sent home Johnson and Ladd, by the same score, 5-2. Rounding out the final eight, Melo ousted new player Dani Barnes, 5-2, but was overwhelmed by Garland, 5-1. Back on the east side, final four action witnessed Ng power through Watson, 7-3, and Pierce squeeze by Cato, 7-6. In an all-too familiar, hot seat match, Ng overcame Pierce, 7-3, inching closer to a 2021 premier win. On the one-loss side, Rocha eliminated Abernathy, 5-2, while M. Rodriguez slid past Garland, 5-4. Vying for a spot in the final four of the tournament, Watson took down Rocha, 5-3, while Cato overwhelmed M. Rodriguez, 5-1. Cato made an impressive run for the finish line, but was stopped short by Pierce, 5-3. Once again, Pierce would tee-off against Ng, this time, in a true, double elimination format. A renewed Pierce showed up in the first set, setting the tone, 7-4. In the second set, with Pierce on the hill, an intense safety exchange on the 8-ball ended badly for Ng, and propelled Pierce to a 5-3 victory. Congratulations to Kim Pierce on an impressive, “comeback” win, along with new players Gail Cato and Maria Rodriguez who garnered 3rd and 5th-6th place finishes, respectively.

Jackie Rodriguez, Maria Rodriguez, Kim Newsome, Yvette Martinez

San Antonio players pose for a photo with tournament director, Kim Newsome. Sophia Lopez, Kawania Watson, Marilina Nieves, Mandee Salinas, and Naomi Garcia also drove in from San Antonio to compete.

Tiffany Johnson, Paige Boudreaux, Elaine Kebodeaux, and Nikki Richard, along with many others, drove in from all parts of Louisiana, including Eunice, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria.

T.C. Bordelon, Nikki Norris, Sara Hebert, and Georgia Bechtel, pictured with tournament director, Kim Newsome (middle), form a winning ladies 9-ball team in Alexandria, Louisiana.

First-timers Dani Barnes (Dayton, Texas) and Mary McHaney (Elgin, Texas) take a photo for prosperity.

The Tour would like to congratulate Debra Leger of Port Arthur, Texas who won a set of Predator Arcos II Pool Balls in the weekend raffles. Debra and her daughter Bethany competed in their first, Gulf Coast Tour event.

Gulf Coast Tour Board Members Ruth Paine, Kim Pierce, Ming Ng, and D’Andrea McQuirter, assisted in running a seamless, two-day event. The Tour would like to thank Lisa Gutierrez and Eric Nelson for their generous sponsorship contributions, to help kick-off this comeback tournament.

The next event will be held April 24th-25th, 2021, at Slick Willies Family Pool Hall, located at 5913 Westheimer, Houston, Texas 77057. For more information, please visit www.GulfCoastWomensTour.com.

Payouts – Total $2,040

1st Kim Pierce $600

2nd Ming Ng $400

3rd Gail Cato $280

4th Kawania Watson $180

5th-6th Natalie Rocha, Maria Rodriguez $110 ea.

7th-8th Teresa Garland, Michelle Abernathy $60 ea.

9th-12th Tiffany Benoit, Danni Ladd, Sandra Melo, Jackie Rodriguez

13th-16th Elaine Kebodeaux, Tiffany Johnson, Mary McHaney, Dani Barnes

17th– 24th Bethany Leger, Jennifer Bowman, Blanca Camarillo, Yvette Martinez, Verda Jones, Robyn Petrosino, Yvonne Asher, Jennifer Ramos

25th-32nd Brandi Scott, Susi Morales, Marilina Nieves, Debra Leger, Holly Hard, Cari Balusek, Sara Hebert, Mandee Salinas

33rd-48th Brittany Kromer, Nikki Richard, Naomi Garcia, Julie Leimone, Audrey Ford, Viviana Christapher, Kim Woodworth, Karen Reilly, Terri Urban, Brittany Williams, Georgia Bechtel, Sophia Lopez, D’Andrea McQuirter, T.C. Bordelon, Brenda Gunter, Maria Requejo

49th– 52nd Cindy Tillman, Sherren Drake, Nikki Norris, Ashton Barak